The Body’s Wisdom

There has been an obvious theme to my coaching conversations this week so I am taking that as a sign to talk about it here! With EVERY CALL, my client and I focused almost exclusively on somatics – their body’s response to what was going on. “When I’m in a meeting with him, I get this stomach ache.”, “When I think about taking that step, my chest gets tight”, or “I know this is the right move because I feel this sense of ‘lightness'”. When I hear these comments I want to do a happy dance because the resultant awareness that come from this is often a game changer.
When I was a practicing physical therapist, the most common question I would ask my patients was, “How does that feel?”. I was encouraging them to connect an action they were taking (like bending a recently repaired knee) with the bodily sensation that arose. This awareness of their body provided them with important information about “What’s going on here”, helping them make decisions about what to do next. And while we readily access the information our body gives us in instances like this, we almost never use the wisdom of our ‘feeling self’ when we are trying to decide where to go next in our lives.
Becoming more aware of how we live in our bodies is such a useful exercise in all domains of our lives. We all have conditioned tendencies that are a function of our life experiences. Our body has an historical shape too that developed over time and probably served us well at some point. When we declare that we want to experience something different because what’s happening now isn’t working, we must involve our body in the process. Connecting the thinking self to the feeling self is essential if we want to have experiences that are full and complete.
When we appreciate our body for the wealth of information it provides us, we begin to have access to a wider array of possibilities for action. Imagine getting that job you are pursuing and then ask “What’s arising in me when I envision myself in that role?”. If your thoughts and body sensations aren’t in sync, you may want to explore further if this is the right job for you. If you consistently experience churning in your stomach when you engage with a friend or family member, maybe this is an opportunity to check in with the story associated with that sensation. Is there a missing conversation that might ‘clear the air’? Is there an assessment you are making about yourself relative to that person that is causing this unease? You may decide the discomfort isn’t bad enough to take some action but at the very least your awareness has positioned you to be in a place of choice.
Sensation is the early warning signal that if attended to, can bring us joy and fulfillment. It is my hope that this week, you give yourself the gift of noticing:
  • what posture do you consistently move about in?
  • what sensations arise that are connected to a positive or negative emotion you have?
  • when you experience an uncomfortable internal sensation, what is your reaction?

Enhancing our body awareness is a wonderful tool that can serve us well throughout our lives. But just like most other good stuff, it takes practice. What are you going to practice this week?

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